Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eclectic Foundations (A REVIEW)

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

 We had a chance to try out a Language arts program from Eclectic Foundations. This particular language arts curriculum appealed to me because it uses the McGuffey's eclectic readers as the spine for reading. I have collected a few of those over the years, and we've given them a try, but I've always wanted something to go with them. I've always had the thought: It'd be great if there were some lessons to tie into these great readers. Now we finally have something!


What did we recieve in Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level B?

We received printed spiral bound copies of all the books including: 
  • Teacher's Guide
  • Student Workbook
  •  Phonics Practice Sheets
  • And Word cards
The McGuffey reader was also provided to us for convenience in a printed spiral bound book. This would normally have to be purchased separately, or found for free digitally online. We happened to already have a copy of the First Eclectic Reader, but enjoyed having the printed version which was bigger, and therefore easy to read.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

Who did we use this on?

I originally picked Level B for my Kindergardener who is already reading many words. This proved to be the wrong choice for him in some ways. First, the grammar was too much for him. Second, he had a hard time with some of the words from the word lists, but he can read the First McGuffey reader pretty well. They didn't seem to match the McGuffey reader in his ability, and were to hard for him to figure out with sounds he didn't know. For him, I think he would have been better suited for Level A. So, these are definitely at or above level as far as what level to start your child in.


What's in a lesson?

The Level B lessons are designed for about 1st-2nd grade level, and they don't take long to complete. It took us about 15-20 minutes per lesson. We would open up to the lesson, and follow the outline while my child worked in the student workbook. Each lesson includes 5 sections, which are:

1. McGuffey's~ about 2 lessons are read each week
2. Phonics~ this includes a wordlist to read/learn
3. Handwriting~ For this level it is cursive, and starts with only single letters
4. Poetry~ Reading just one or two stanza's at a time, and finding the rhyming words are some of the lessons here.
5. Grammar~ Learning basic grammar

There is not a lot of prep needed for these lessons! 

My Kinder boy decided he wanted to write and underline the words as he was reading in the McGuffey's reader, and I let him because it was a printed copy. That may be another benefit for printing it from an online digital copy that you can get for free. This really helped him focus.

What else could we do?

I decided that I'd let my 3rd grader try out a few lessons since it wasn't working for my Kindergardener. The 3rd grader really enjoyed all of it. The McGuffey reader was definitely too easy for him, and the grammar was a lot of review, but he still enjoyed the quick and to the point lessons. He has just started learning cursive so that was a fun challenge for him. I'd love to see what he could do with the Level C books! Right now they only have Level A, B, or C. Soon they will have Level D in April of 2017.

Part of some of the lessons is to color the word cards according to what kind of word it is. For example, a noun is colored red, a verb is green. Both boys really enjoyed this part.

What do I think?
While our Level B wasn't a correct match for my children's reading levels right now, I think this is a great curriculum. I certainly plan to put this away until next year when my son is in first grade, and more ready for this level. I enjoy the McGuffey readers in their simpleness and old fashioned feel (they are from a different time for sure!). I love that there is poetry included, and the grammar lessons are simple. 

If you'd like to see what others have to say about all 3 levels that are available, you can visit the Homeschool Review Crew page, and check them out for yourselves.

Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations Reviews}
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